Instant ramen. What is a kid (or adult) to do when it comes down to this fairly dirt cheap square shaped puck of dried noodles? Well, lots of things. It seems as though instant ramen, Maruchan oriental style ramen packets is what invades my pantry closet on a fairly regular basis. The noodles are pretty much always there, and at least six or so packages (as many as I can grab with my two hands), and they either sit in the pantry for awhile, or they are consumed immediately. Ramen is one of those things where two of my kids will attack them for brunch, or sit for a couple of months. So as my oldest came home from college a couple of months ago, I thought I would load up the pantry with a handful of bags of instant ramen. Little did I know my kid was probably ‘ramen’d’ out by the time he got home from college. So it was up to me to figure out what do do with them to make myself feel better about not wasting them, and that is when I simply came up with a ramen stir fry.
I went with the ramen stir fry because I was thinking of ‘hot noods’. Something along the lines of pancit canton or pancit canton (Filipino dishes), and see how I would fair with instant ramen. Only the noodles though. Save those seasoning packages for some chip dip, or cream cheese spread!
This ramen stir fry is one that you can twist your own way, which I love, and use up pretty much any garden, pantry or refrigerator items you have on hand. What’s not to love about that? Furthermore it is easy to make, and delicious to boot.
Let’s get started. Scale to your needs.
- 2 packages Maruchan instant ramen, noodles only
- 1 tbsp neutral cooking oil
- 1 lb ground chicken (beef, pork, or no meat will also work)
- 2 whole eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
- 2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 cup shallots, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lime, juice only
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tsp dark sesame oil
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes, to your spice level
- 1 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine
- 4 cups napa cabbage, roughly chopped
- 1/2 whole red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
Always start with your mise en place. To a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, white pepper, oyster sauce, light brown sugar, fish sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, cooking wine, and chicken stock. Give that a good whisk. Heat a sauce pot on medium heat, then add in the sauce mixture. Once it comes to a light boil, reduce the heat to low and let the sauce thicken, or reduce in half, then set it aside to cool.
Cook your ramen noodles according to package, but remove them when they al dente, or slightly before, and strain. Set those aside.
During this time, heat a wok, or large skillet on medium-high heat.
Add the oil and let it come to temperature for a minute. Add in the ground chicken and cook until the juices run free and it begins to turn a white color. Break up the ground chicken as you cook.
Add in the carrots, shallots, and garlic. Give this a good stir, and cook for about five minutes on medium-low heat. Season with the chili flakes and give another stir.
Add the slightly cooked ramen noodles to the sauce, give a gentle toss or two, then add them to the wok. Add the bell pepper and the napa cabbage, and give that a good stir or a few good tosses.
Add in the fresh cilantro right before serving, as well as those green onions, and give that a few good tosses.
Now you are ready to plate and serve.
The result is everything you would expect with a hot noodle stir fry. It’s pure comfort and every bite is a real treat. You get great texture from the cabbage and peppers, and just awesome Asian flavor. Whether you cook with meat, or all veggies, this one is a real easy dish(as well as inexpensive) and recipe to put together. Hope you enjoy!